NEUTRALS: “Rent”/”Your House”: EP

You know those times when you find a record and discover a vein of untapped back catalogue? Neutrals was one of those bands for me. The pedigree of the dudes in this band led me backwards through groups whose names I’d heard, but never dug into, like Giant Haystacks, Airfix Kits, and Magic Bullets. All this digging was a welcome distraction from the beginning of quarantine back in March when this slab arrived. With all that said, the back story wouldn’t be worth mentioning if the present-day stuff wasn’t good. And reader, I’m here to tell you that the Neutrals fucking slay. Propulsive rhythms drive, leaving ample space for liberal but spacious application of trebly—dare I say D. Boon-esque—guitar and Allan McNaughton’s brogue, yielding compositions that sound to these ears like the joyous first spate of post-punk records. All this, plus the neat and unexpected trick of making a cover of the Exploited’s “Hitler’s in the Charts Again” sound like the Feelies’ “The Boy with the Perpetual Nervousness.” Neutrals are my new favorite band. If any of this sounds even vaguely appealing, they’ll be yours, too. –Michael T. Fournier (Domestic Departure, domesticdeparturerecords.com)